The Honor Holly is an affordable smartphone, which for the price offers decent battery life and a good display. However, its performance is let down by poor software additions and the use of an old Android version.
Decent battery, affordable, reasonably good screen
Older Android version, can be buggy, dull design
Screen: 5in 1280x720, 294ppi IPS LCD
Processor: Quad-core 1.3GHz Cortex-A7 Mediatek MT6582
Storage: Up to 16GB, expandable with microSD card up to 32GB
Battery: Removable, 2000mAh
Camera: 8MP rear-facing, 2MP front-facing
While 2014 saw an influx of great top-end smartphones, the lower end was woefully underserved, with Motorola's Moto G arguably the only decent option for buyers on a budget.
Hoping to fill this hole in the market comes freshly launched Huawei subsidiary Honor with its new Honor Holly handset.
Although the Honor Holly's eventual price will be determined by how many people register interest in the run-up to its 23 February launch - the current RRP is around £100 - it is likely that the Honor Holly will be one of the cheapest Android phones ever released.
Design and build
The Honor Holly has a fairly standard design and features a polycarbonate white removable back that grants access to its dual-sim, microSD slots and removable battery, and a black front face.
Measuring 142x72x9.4mm and weighing 156g, the device is reasonably well built and its slightly rounded back and sides mean it's comfortable to hold.
The casing feels pretty solid and durable but suffers from a shiny white backplate that is a bit of a dirt magnet.
Display technology is usually one of the first areas manufacturers skimp on when designing affordable smartphones but the Honor Holly bucks this trend by featuring a decent 5in 1280x720, 294ppi IPS LCD display.
This puts the Holly on a par with Motorola's Moto G, which to our mind is the benchmark for any affordable smartphone.
For those more used to top-end £500-plus handsets, the Holly's screen will seem slightly dull. It is also fairly reflective and will become all but unreadable when hit with bright light.
That said, compared to other phones in the same price bracket the screen is pretty decent. Thanks to IPS technology, colours are nicely balanced, and icons and text are reasonably crisp and easy to read.
Huawei has never been the most punctual smartphone vendor when it comes to updating its devices to new Android versions. This is largely due to its insistence on loading its handsets with its custom Emotion skin, which means Huawei has to rework Emotion's code to work with Google's update, a practice that is both costly and time consuming.
So it comes as little surprise that the Honor Holly's Emotion UI 2.3 runs on Google's aging Android 4.4.2 KitKat OS rather than the latest version, Android 5.0 Lollipop.
There's currently no word on when the Honor Holly will receive an update to Lollipop.
The absence of Lollipop is disappointing as the update adds a wealth of new features to Android.
Key changes include a reworked Material design interface and notifications system, enhanced encryption, improved multiple account services and a new camera API. As we noted in our full Android 5.0 Lollipop review, the update is one of the best mobile operating systems currently available.
The lack of Lollipop would be forgivable if Emotion UI added useful features but sadly this isn't the case and most of the changes are either needless or detrimental.
For example, Emotion UI removes the Android app tray and instead places all installed applications on the phone's main menu screens - like Apple iOS. This makes using the Honor Holly slightly unintuitive for people used to less adulterated versions of Android.
Next: Performance and camera